Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in human brain tumors

Acta Neuropathol. 1998 Nov;96(5):453-62. doi: 10.1007/s004010050919.


Compared to normal brain an increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been reported in many types of brain tumors. However, the numbers of samples analyzed and information about the cellular distribution of VEGF have been limited. Here we used novel monoclonal antibodies against VEGF to analyze, using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, its expression in 108 human brain tumors that included astrocytic tumors, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, primary intracranial germ cell tumors and neuronal tumors. The results showed that 37 of 48 astrocytic tumors (77%) and 15 of 19 meningiomas (79%) were immunoreactive for VEGF, consistent with previous reports. However, in contrast to a previous report that analyzed only VEGF mRNA; all of our 15 pituitary adenomas showed specific immunoreactivity for VEGF. We also extended the studies to previously unanalyzed neoplasms: 13 of 15 primary intracranial germ cell tumors (82%), and 7 of 10 neuronal tumors (70%) were immunoreactive for VEGF. Direct protein analysis by Western blotting confirmed the expression of VEGF in those tumors, and showed differential expression of the isoforms of VEGF protein; a pituitary adenoma expressed both VEGF165 and VEGF189 proteins, a central neurocytoma expressed only VEGF165, while an immature teratoma expressed only VEGF189. The data herein show that VEGF is expressed in a wide spectrum of brain tumors and suggest differences among tumor entities in the mechanisms of VEGF up-regulation as well as their employment of distinct VEGF isoforms for neovascularization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Germinoma / metabolism
  • Germinoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Meningioma / metabolism
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors